Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Dodger Videos: Katz Speaks about his Puig Story on CBS

Here are this Sunday's Dodger videos.

Contributing writer Jesse Katz wrote "Escape from Cuba: Yasiel Puig's Untold Journey to the Dodgers" in LA Magazine  (read it here).  CBS News' Ben Tracy sat down with Katz to discuss how the Los Angeles Dodgers player got from his native Cuba to the U.S. through Mexico with the help of smugglers and cartel members.

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ICYMI: Last Week, Yasiel Puig and Hyun-Jin Ryu had some fun fooling around in the dugout before their game against the Giants.

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Here's a vintage recap video featuring the 1963 World Series between the Dodgers and Yankees.  I love the old footage of Dodger Stadium.

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Ryu has some power.  Watch him hit 2 home runs in batting practice on Saturday.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hyun-Jin Ryu to Sign Autographs at Viva Los Dodgers Tomorrow!

Along with Derrel Thomas, Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu will be signing autographs for fans at Viva Los Dodgers from 11:45 AM to 12:15 PM, in benefit to the survivors and families of  the South Korean ferry Sewol tragedy.  As you know,  it capsized in Korea on April 16.  There's no word on the desirable donation for his autograph yet, but I suggest being generous.  Ryu has already pledged $100,000.00, so this is your opportunity to show your support.

Via a Dodgers press release:
Tomorrow, Hyun-Jin Ryu will sign autographs for fans from 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at Viva Los Dodgers in lot 6 for monetary donations that will benefit the survivors and families of those who lost their lives aboard the South Korean ferry Sewol, which capsized on April 16. Ryu will sign autographs for donations in the Dodgers’ autograph tent located to the right of the stage and has already shown support for his native South Korea having pledged yesterday a $100,000 donation via his HJ 99 foundation to a charity to help those affected by the Sewol ferry disaster.
Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider adds:
Ryu will also select a fan at Viva Los Dodgers to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Sunday’s game.
Go here for more information on tomorrow's Viva Los Dodgers event that includes an autograph session with Derrel Thomas (a time has yet to be announced).  Also, former Dodger outfielder Kenny Landreau will be signing autographs in the left-field pavilion plaza area.

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Blog Kiosk: 4/19/2014 - Dodger Links - Some Dodger Face Swaps, Ryu and Manny's Coming Back?

Marlon Wayans had some fun with the Dodger PreGame audience yesterday, gif's via Dodger Dugout.

"I can do everything, baseball-wise, except run," Ellis said Friday, "and that's not a big part of my game."

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Andre Ethier has Caught Uribe Syndrome

Oh, No!  It's starting to spread.

I don't mean to cause alarm, but something wicked has infested the Dodger clubhouse.  It's a disease that manifest itself in the most unusual way - a way that is sure to cause the masses to snicker and laugh uncontrollably.

As you may recall, a couple of weeks ago I shared "The Many Outfits of Juan Uribe", and wondered aloud what the heck was going on.  Check out that post here.
(pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers)

Juan Uribe had previously been photographed in several earth shattering outfits like the one above, and promised more was to come.  Little did we know that Uribe's promise would include his teammates getting in to the act.

This afternoon, Yaiel Puig shared the below Instagram video of Andre Ethier in his own outrageous concoction.  Unbelievable!

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Some Signings at Dodger Stadium Before the Games this Weekend

I am as surprised as you that the Dodgers continue to offer free signing opportunities with some old-time Dodgers before their home game.  I had thought they were going to forgo those events, but I am happy to report that that appears to not be the case.  Below are the scheduled autograph opportunities and other odds and ends for this upcoming homestand against the Diamondbacks this weekend.


Friday, April 18th

This Friday will be Friday Night Fireworks, so fans will be able to go down onto the field after the game.  Actor Marlon Wayans will throw the ceremonial first pitch and officially start the game with “It’s Time for Dodger Baseball!” Former Dodgers Dennis Powell (in right-field pavilion plaza) and Billy Ashley (in left-field pavilion plaza) will be signing autographs for fans from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.  There will be face painters, caricature artist and a balloon maker in a pavilion areas.

From a press release:
  • The Dodgers announced yesterday that auto gates will now open 2.5 hours before game time on a permanent basis and the stadium gates will open two hours before the scheduled first pitch. All auto gates on Friday open at 4:30 p.m. and all stadium gates open at 5:00 p.m.  
  • The Veteran of the Game presented by Bank of America is U.S. Army Specialist Monica Faraldo of Los Angeles. Faraldo enlisted in 2005, served with the 7-101 Aviation Battalion 101st Airborne as a Chaplain Assistant and has been stationed at Fort Campbell and deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan. Her accolades include the Army Commendation Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal. 
Saturday, April 19th

Saturday's game starts at 5:10 PM.  All auto gates open at 2:30 PM. and all stadium gates open at 3:00 PM.  The first 40,000 fans will receive a Dodgers Welcome Mat.  See it on the right.  The national anthem will be performed by saxophonist and Copenhagen, Denmark native Michael Lington.

Former Dodgers Al Downing (in right-field pavilion plaza) and “Sweet” Lou Johnson (in left-field pavilion plaza) will be signing autographs for fans from 3:00 PM to 5:10 PM. 

From a press release:
The Veteran of the Game presented by Bank of America is U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Ryan Provasi of Santa Clarita. Provasi enlisted in 2008 and served with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Division based out of Camp Pendleton as an Infantryman. In 2009, his unit was deployed to the Sangin Valley in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan in which his unit suffered tremendous loss with more than 20 members killed in action and 200 wounded. Provasi was honorably discharged in 2013 and his accolades include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Combat Action Medal and the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal. 

Sunday, April 20th

Sunday's game is at 1:10 PM.   All auto gates opening at 10:30 AM. and all stadium gates open at 11:00 AM.  Viva Los Dodgers begins at 10:30 AM in lot 6 and will feature autographs by Derrel Thomas.  A band named RENZO will perform.

The national anthem and “God Bless America” will be performed by Luz Rios, Latin GRAMMY® Award Nominated singer.  Former Dodgers Kenny Landreaux (in left-field pavilion plaza) will be signing autographs for fans from 11:00 AM to 1:10 PM. 

From a press release:
The Veteran of the Game presented by Bank of America is U.S. Army Reserves Specialist Jaime Fernandez, Jr. of Downey. Fernandez enlisted eight days after the September 11 attacks and serves with the 394th Adjutant General Company in Long Beach. He was deployed to Iraq in 2003. Fernandez had an L.A. Dodger flag on the ½ ton truck he drove in Iraq and his accolades include the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.  

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Blog Kiosk: 4/18/2014 - Dodger Links - Kershaw is Progressing Nicely, Some Concern for Puig and Dodger Prospect Chris Anderson

Check out Scott Van Slyke rounding third and heading home to score, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers.  Check out more photos from Jon from yesterdays game here.
"He had a little more velocity, but I didn't see any 95s," said Don Mattingly, the manager of expectations with Kershaw. "He threw harder than the day before. He'll throw every other day."
"If you care about Yasiel, you worry about it," Mattingly said. "There's some serious stuff that he has to deal with. I think you have to worry about it if you care about him as a person. You worry about what he's going through."
  • Via Chris Olds at Beckett, Topps just released their Topps Archive Print Aluminum Edition that features an 10x14 aluminum card.  A Kirk Gibson and Orel Hershiser 1989 Topps cards are available.  They are numbered to just 99 copies and are for sale at $69.99.  Go here to check them out.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

It's Never Really Easy - The Dodgers Win a Scrappy One This Afternoon

What a performance by Ryu on the mound today.  He went 7 strong innings, allowed 4 hits, struck out 3 and gave up 0 runs.  (Watch highlights here) He's been absolutely phenomenal in his sophomore season, and continues to prove that he is much better than a #3 pitcher.  Heck, going back to last year, Ryu has pitched 27 straight scoreless innings on the road.  Wow!

And boy, did we need him to continue his dominance.  The Dodgers offense sputtered for the 3rd straight game against the Giants.  Some may bicker and scream that the Dodgers are on a road to batter's hell, but I think otherwise.  I think it's likely that the Giants are just that good. They have a great pitching staff, and I wouldn't be surprised if we continue to butt heads with them throughout the year.  That being said, it's nice to be leaving the Bay Area tied up with them in the Western Division.

As you surely know by now, Yasiel Puig had quite a day in the 2nd inning out on the field.  First, with a man on 1st base and Brandon Hicks at bat this happened:

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Puig tried to make a one-handed catch, bobbled, dropped it, scrambled, then threw out the advancing runner on a force-out.  Wow!

Then, later on, this happened:

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Holy Moly!  What was that?  And, could anything be stranger than that half inning?

I think not!

Anyway, the Dodgers scrapped to take a 2-run lead on the Giants on some timely hitting.  Then, the Dodger relievers decided to make it interesting by allowing runners into scoring position in their two innings.  Fortunately, Brian Wilson (who pitched for the first time since coming off the DL) and Kenley Jansen held their own.  It wasn't pretty, but I've come to understand that what Vinny said is true.
“Throughout the history of the organization... Over the years... Nothing has come easy.”
Don't you know it Vin!

Pic at the very top via @Dodgers on twitter.

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Go Kings Go! Game 1 is Tonight!

I love this time of year.  The coming of Spring denotes not only the start of a new Baseball season, but also the beginning of the NHL second season. 

Tonight is Game 1 for the Kings, and I am beyond excited.  Heck, my emotions are bouncing off the walls in anticipation of tonight's match-up between the Kings and San Jose Sharks.

It's a reprise of last years playoffs.  These two teams met each other in Round 2 last year, as the Kings beat San Jose by taking advantage of home ice and winning every game at the Staples Center. 

This year, San Jose has home ice advantage, and I suspect we'll see much of the same game play we witnessed last season.  They'll be checking each other at every opportunity.  Skirmishes along the boards will no doubt be frenzied. 

San Jose will attempt to use their speed to coax the Kings to play a run-n-gun style.  They clearly have the better brand of forwards - like sparkly crystals with a luster that is difficult to scratch.  The Kings will try to continue their disciplined play centered around defense and puck possession.  They have the best goalie in the NHL, and have a defense that gave up the fewest goals in the entire league. 

We are about to witness a majestic battle between two foes that have no love for one another, and I think it's safe to say that the hard feelings that exist will not be satisfied when the dust settles.

All I know is that the Kings are a scrappy bunch.  They will scratch, claw and fight for every inch. 

So, get ready to be entertained with the best hockey you can imagine.

BTW, the Sharks are already whining and complaining about Kings Captain Dustin Brown; as if he's the son of satan and hockey's version of Yasiel Puig.  All I gotta say is STOP crying and just play! 

Finally, I'll leave you with the below tweet from Adam Bretz.

Puck possession stats is the key sabermetrics stat in hockey, and fortunately the Kings rule in that department.  Of course, anything can happen in the playoffs, but this sure does put a smile on my face.  You'll know things are going well for the Kings if you notice that they are winning face-offs and can control the pace of play by skillfully managing the puck.

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A Couple of Johnny Podres 2014 Supreme Cards from Asia

Last year, Topps release a couple of card sets exclusively to the Asian market.  Actually, at first (if I remember correctly) they produced several 2013 Topps Museum Baseball cases that had a distinctly Asian flavor to them.  It had all of the same cards available in the North American cases, but had some added cards and parallels included that were meant to appeal to Asian area fans.  For instance, there are numerous Yu Darvish autograph and relic cards that can only be found in Asian edition cases. 

Assuming this was a success in their sales strategy, Topps decided to create a new Baseball card brand that would be available only in Asia.  They called it 2013 Topps Supreme.  Go here to check out my post from last year featuring Dodger cards in the set. 

Naturally, I had to seek them out and add a few to my collection.  What I found was a great design and cards that were very inexpensive in the secondary market.

Check out the two new Johnny Podres autographed cards that I added to my collection in this post.  The above card is a base Supreme Autographed card of Podres, and below is a Supreme Stylings autographed card.  I was able to snag them for about $15 bucks total, and shipping from Asia was cheap - meaning, much cheaper than I imagined and comparable to US shipping prices.

I've got a couple more cards coming my way, and I hope to find some more deals in the future.  Unfortunately, autographed cards from a player like Puig or Koufax remain extremely high, so there's no chance I'll be able to snag one of them.

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2014 Gypsy Queen Baseball - The Dodger Rarities

This is my last post featuring Dodger cards that can be found in packs of 2014 Gypsy Queen.  See my previous post on this set here.  Below are the scarce insert Dodger cards.

Clear Mini cards are all "1 of 1's," and 8 Dodger players are available.  Below is a checklist of Dodger players available.  I also have photos of the Sandy Koufax Clear Mini card.  As you can see, the background of the Koufax photo is clear.

Clear Mini Base Cards

  • #105 Hanley Ramirez
  • #243 Matt Kemp
  • #244 Carl Crawford
  • #250 Sandy Koufax
  • #276 Duke Snider
  • #300 Clayton Kershaw
  • #314 Hyun-Jin Ryu
  • #350 Yasiel Puig
#250 Sandy Koufax

Below are the two Dodger Original Art Patch cards in the Gypsy Queen set.  Both cards were painted by noted Baseball artist Monty Sheldon.  He was kind enough to forward along photos of both of the cards to me.  Check out his Facebook page (here) for more great pics of his artwork.  Also, I shared an interview with him last year that you can check out here.

Original Art Patch Cards

#OAP-CK Clayton Kershaw                         #OAP-YP Yasiel Puig

The next group of insert cards are manufactured patch Hometown Flag cards.  They are numbered to just 5 copies for each player, and 7 Dodger players are represented in the set.  Below is a checklist, and photos of the cards that have been found so far.

Hometown Flags

  • #GQHF-AG Adrian Gonzalez
  • #GQHF-CK Clayton Kershaw
  • #GQHF-HR Hanley Ramirez
  • #GQHF-HR Hyun-Jin Ryu
  • #GQHF-SK Sandy Koufax
  • #GQHF-YP Yasiel Puig
  • #GQHF-ZG Zack Greinke

#GQHF-HR Hyun-Jin Ryu

#GQHF-SK Sandy Koufax

#GQHF-YP Yasiel Puig

I love these relic cards with uniform buttons attached to them.  There are two Dodger players with Mini Button Cards.  Only the Puig card has surfaced, and it is currently available at auction, here.  The other card is of Zack Greinke (#GMB-ZG).

Mini Button Cards

#GMB-YP Yasiel Puig

Triple Button Cards

#TBC-KPR Puig, Kershaw & Ramirez

The next group of scarce insert cards are Mini Birth Year Penny cards.  The inserted penny has a print date that corresponds to the players year of birth.  Seven Dodger players have a card.  Below is a checklist, and photos of the cards that have been found so far.

Mini Birth Year Pennies

  • #GBY-AG Adrian Gonzalez
  • #GBY-CK Clayton Kershaw
  • #GBY-HR Hyun-Jin Ryu
  • #GBY-HR Hanley Ramirez
  • #GBY-Sandy Koufax
  • #GBY-YP Yasiel Puig
  • #GBY-ZG Zack Greinke

#GBY-CK Clayton Kershaw      #GBY-AG Adrian Gonzalez

#GBY-YP Yasiel Puig

Bat Barrels

#GQBB-HJR Hyun-Jin Ryu

#GQBB-HR Hanley Ramirez

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